When I first ran to represent House District 2 (Bethel, Danbury) as a member of Connecticut’s General Assembly, I often spoke about my support for small, locally owned businesses in Connecticut.
Over my four years in the legislature, my advocacy for independently owned, small businesses has never wavered.
In addition to my role as a legislator, I also work for a small business owned by my father. As a result, I have witnessed firsthand the hard work that goes into the success of locally owned businesses. As drivers of our local economies and creators of family-sustaining jobs, they provide immeasurable benefits to their communities.
Since joining the legislature in 2019, this is my second time hearing arguments for and against legislation allowing for the sale of wine in Connecticut’s grocery stores. As a supporter of locally owned businesses, I have always thoughtfully considered the opinions of both sides. However, I remain unconvinced that this change would be worthwhile in our community and would not cause unnecessary damage to independently owned package stores in this state.
Connecticut’s package stores are more than just places to buy alcohol. They are often family-owned businesses that build relationships with their customers and engage in their local communities. These stores tend to buy from and work with other local companies, such as Connecticut breweries, distilleries, and wineries, which creates a cycle of spending and reinvestment within the local economy. They are more likely to hire local workers and provide jobs that cannot be outsourced. They are also more likely to support local charities and events, sponsor local sports teams, and participate in community initiatives.
House Bill 5918, as written, will do more harm than good for our state’s small businesses and residents. However, if all stakeholders in the alcohol beverage industry sat down together in a truly collaborative way, I am confident they could find better approaches.
State Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan is the House Deputy Majority Leader and represents the 2nd House District, Bethel and Danbury.